2018 Dodge Challenger

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2018 Dodge Challenger Review

The 2018 Dodge Challenger is a pure muscle car that offers two of the most powerful engines on the market. It also has a spacious second row and abundant trunk space for the class. However, the Challenger finishes in the middle of our sports car rankings because it's not as well-rounded as some rivals.




Critics' Rating: 8.6
Performance: 8.3
Interior: 8.2
Safety: 8.4
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Gobs of power
  • Spacious rear seats and large trunk
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Less agile than rivals
  • Lower-rent interior than competitors

New for 2018

  • New SRT Demon trim
  • New SRT Hellcat Widebody model
  • Larger base touch screen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto now standard

Is the Dodge Challenger a Good Car?

Yes, the Dodge Challenger is a good car. Whether it's equipped with the standard V6 engine or one of four available V8s, the Challenger can fly when you hit the gas. It's also pretty practical (for a sports car), with roomier rear seats and a larger trunk than what many rivals offer. Dodge packs the Challenger with a decent number of standard and optional tech features that are easy to use. Just note: the Challenger has less agile handling and a less upscale interior than some competitors.

Should I Buy the Dodge Challenger?

If raw, unadulterated power is your primary concern, the Challenger is a great option. However, it doesn't have the pure corner-carving athleticism of some other vehicles in the sports car class. Some rivals are also better in ways not related to performance, so you'd be wise to shop around the Challenger's competition before making a decision.

The Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro are longtime competitors of the Challenger – and that rivalry won't be ending any time soon. The Challenger has more cabin space, and the top of its engine lineup is more powerful. However, the Mustang and Camaro are cheaper and have much better handling. You might also want to consider the Dodge Charger, which has a muscle car heritage of its own. This large sedan has a similar pack of engine choices, but it offers more interior space and features than the Challenger.

Compare the Challenger, Mustang, and Camaro »

Should I Buy a New or Used Dodge Challenger?

Dodge reintroduced the Challenger for the 2008 model year. It hasn't seen a redesign since, although there was a refresh for the 2015 model year. The 2018 model adds a new Demon trim that features an 840-horsepower engine, a new SRT Hellcat wide-body model, and new standard features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a larger infotainment touch screen.

The 2017 model added some new trims to the lineup: the T/A, T/A 392, and the AWD GT model. Additionally, the 2017 was the first Challenger model to have Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert as available features.

Though you'll have fewer trim options and you might miss out on some features, you can potentially save money buying a used Challenger instead of a new one. If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2016 Dodge Challenger and the 2017 Dodge Challenger. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Challenger »
We Did the Research for You: 68 Reviews Analyzed

For our 2018 Dodge Challenger review, we researched dozens of professional evaluations, along with safety scores, reliability data, and fuel economy estimates, to help you make the best buying decision possible.

The 2018 Dodge Challenger is part of a generation that began with the 2008 model year. There was a refresh for the 2015 model year, and 2018 sees some new standard features and the addition of an all-new trim (the Challenger Demon). This review uses research and data from 2008 to 2018.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than a combined 75 years of experience in the automotive industry. To maintain objectivity, we don't accept incentives or expensive gifts from car companies, and an outside team handles the ads on our site.

How Much Does the Dodge Challenger Cost?

The Challenger has a higher base price – around $27,000 – than most other sports cars, including its muscle car competitors. There are literally more than a dozen higher trims that come with additional features, styling upgrades, and perhaps most importantly, more powerful engines. Go all the way to the top of the lineup for a Challenger SRT Hellcat or SRT Demon, and you’re looking at price tags that range from the mid-$60,000s to the mid-$80,000s.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Dodge dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Dodge deals page.

Dodge Challenger Versus the Competition

Sports cars fall into two main categories. There are muscle cars, like the Mustang and Camaro, and there are cars that aren’t all that powerful but have incredible agility, like the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Fiat 124 Spider. The Challenger is decidedly part of the first category.

Which Is Better: Dodge Challenger or Chevrolet Camaro?

The Chevrolet Camaro offers several engine choices that range from 275 to 650 horsepower, so it can go toe-to-toe with the Challenger off the line. However, when it comes to handling, the Camaro is the winner. It can easily outmaneuver the Dodge on an agility course and is more composed through corners. The Camaro also earns better safety scores than the Challenger. The Challenger is more accommodating inside, with its five-person capacity (against the Camaro’s four), roomy back seat, and extra-large trunk. Still, the Camaro is the better car overall.

Which Is Better: Dodge Challenger or Ford Mustang?

The Ford Mustang is a consistent contender for a top spot in our rankings, and it also costs less than many competitors – including the Challenger. The Mustang can't match the Challenger's most powerful engines, but it offers plenty of muscle and much better handling. However, if you need your sports car to occasionally pull family duty, the Challenger is the better pick. The Mustang's rear seats are practically useless for passengers, and its trunk is much smaller than the Challenger's. For the price and performance, the Mustang is the better choice for most buyers. However, the Challenger should be your pick if space – or an insane amount of horsepower – is a priority.

Which Is Better: Dodge Challenger or Dodge Charger?

You may be tempted to compare the Challenger solely to other sports cars, but you should consider taking a stroll across the showroom to check out the Dodge Charger. It’s a large car, but it features most of the same engine options as the Challenger. (Yes, that includes the 707-horsepower Hellcat variant.) The Charger costs a little more, but it is more practical. It has a roomier interior, better crash test scores, and more infotainment and driver assistance features than the Challenger. Though these two cars are in different classes, they still match up well. The Charger is a better choice if you're shopping for a daily driver but you don't want to sacrifice much in performance.

Compare the Challenger, Camaro, and Charger »

Challenger Interior
How Many People Does the Challenger Seat?

Most Challenger models seat five, but the Demon seats between one and five people depending on the configuration. (To save weight, the front passenger and rear seats don’t come standard in this performance model.) Both rows of seats are spacious, and it’s especially impressive that adults can ride comfortably in the rear for short trips. That’s uncommon for a sports car.

Challenger and Car Seats

Shockingly, this Dodge has three full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. The tether anchors are easy to use, while the lower anchors in the outboard seats are set deep in the cushion but are otherwise usable. The lower anchors for the middle seat are hard to use, however; in addition to being deeply set, they’re hard to maneuver around and require a lot of force to attach straps to.

Challenger Interior Quality

The Challenger’s cabin is more spacious than most other sports cars’, but it features a plainer design and more hard plastics than you’ll find in many rivals.

Challenger Cargo Space

This Dodge has just over 16 cubic feet of trunk space, which is an enormous total for a sports car. That’s enough space for about a dozen shopping bags or four sets of golf clubs. The high liftover height can make it tough to load heavy objects, though.

Challenger Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the Challenger include dual-zone automatic climate control and the Uconnect infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and two USB ports.

Available features include a power sunroof, satellite radio, a six- or nine-speaker Alpine audio system, an 18-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, and an upgraded Uconnect system with an 8.4-inch touch screen and navigation.

Updates for the 2018 model year include a larger standard touch screen for the Uconnect infotainment system, as well as the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard features (they’re optional in some rivals, and a few don’t even offer these features). The Uconnect system is intuitive, and the touch screen responds quickly to inputs.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Challenger Performance

Challenger Engine: A Glut of Choices

The Challenger’s base engine is a 305-horsepower V6 that’s powerful and provides decently quick acceleration. But it’s still the weak engine in the lineup; there are four V8 engine choices available in higher trims. The least powerful V8 puts out 375 horsepower, and the strongest – the Demon’s supercharged Hemi – produces a whopping 840 horsepower. Amazingly, it's still street-legal. All of the V8s have abundant power and will throw you back in your seat when you hit the gas, but in the Hellcat and Demon trims, it’s almost otherworldly. Torque ratings range from 268 pound-feet with the standard engine up to 650 and 770 pound-feet in the Hellcat and Demon.

Challenger Gas Mileage: Yikes

With the V6 engine, the Challenger’s fuel economy actually isn’t bad. It earns 19 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, which is right in line with other muscle cars' base engines. But with the V8s, fuel economy drops off considerably; the supercharged V8s powering the Hellcat and Demon trims get around 13 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.

When all three are equipped with their base engines, the Challenger will cost you about $200 more in gas money each year than the base Chevrolet Camaro (which is more fuel-efficient but requires premium gasoline). It’ll cost you about $50 more than the base Ford Mustang.

Challenger Ride and Handling: Fine, in a Straight Line

If you want a sports car that will carve corners, the Challenger isn’t for you. It leans more when cornering, and despite its responsive steering and sturdy brakes, this Dodge is less nimble than many rivals. The GT AWD trim has better road grip and handling than the rest of the lineup. On the bright side, the ride is extremely smooth.

Read more about performance »

Challenger Reliability

Is the Dodge Challenger Reliable?

The 2018 Dodge Challenger has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power. That’s an average rating both among sports cars and all vehicles in general.

Dodge Challenger Warranty

Dodge covers the Challenger with a three-year/36,000-mile warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Most other sports cars have similar warranty terms.

Read more about reliability »

Challenger Safety

Challenger Crash Test Results

The 2018 Dodge Challenger receives a five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, it only receives four stars in the Frontal Crash and Rollover tests.

Challenger Safety Features

A rearview camera comes standard in this Dodge. Available active safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and rear parking sensors.

Read more about safety »

Which Dodge Challenger Model Is Right for Me?

There are roughly a million trims for the Dodge Challenger. OK, there are sixteen, which is still more than pretty much every other vehicle on the market. Here’s the full list: SXT, SXT Plus, GT, R/T, T/A, R/T Shaker, R/T Plus, T/A Plus, R/T Plus Shaker, R/T Scat Pack, T/A 392, 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker, SRT 392, SRT Hellcat, SRT Hellcat Widebody, SRT Demon.

Considering so many trims can be daunting, but fortunately, many of them are largely similar. Below, we break down the trims in more detail. Since there are so many trims, we’re going over the Challenger’s five “umbrella trims.” For example, there are five R/T trims, but in general, they are similarly equipped, so we’re discussing them as one category.

The Challenger has a decent standard features list for a sports car, so there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the base SXT trim. But if you want more power, the Challenger R/T still has a reasonable starting price, and it features a stronger V8 engine. If you want all-wheel drive (AWD) instead of the standard rear-wheel drive, you’ll have to get the Challenger GT.

Dodge Challenger SXT

The Challenger SXT is the base trim. It has a starting price of around $27,000. Both the SXT and Dodge Challenger SXT Plus trims feature a 305-horsepower V6 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. In addition to the standard features, you can get satellite radio, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, an Alpine or Harman Kardon audio system, and several driver assistance features like forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control in one or both SXT trims.

Dodge Challenger GT

The Challenger GT has a starting price of around $34,000. It comes with the same engine as the SXT trims, but the GT is the only Challenger trim to come with (or even offer) AWD. The GT also comes with Nappa leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, satellite radio, a six-speaker Alpine audio system, and an upgraded Uconnect system with an 8.4-inch touch screen.

Available features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, a Harman Kardon audio system, and several performance upgrades like stronger brakes.

Dodge Challenger R/T

The Challenger R/T has a starting price around $34,000. Many R/T trims feature a 375-horsepower Hemi V8. The R/T Scat Pack comes with a 485-horsepower V8. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and an eight-speed automatic is available. R/T trims come with a sport suspension, but it otherwise has a standard and available features list that closely resembles the GT’s.

Dodge Challenger T/A

The Challenger T/A has a starting price around $38,000. As with the R/T, most T/A trims feature a 375-horsepower Hemi V8. The T/A 392 comes with a 485-horsepower V8. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and an eight-speed automatic is available. T/A trims have almost the exact same standard and available features as the R/T trims. The main differences between these trims and the R/T trims come down to interior and exterior styling, including the wheels.

Dodge Challenger SRT

The Challenger SRT has a starting price of around $50,500. These engines are the biggest and the baddest. The SRT 392 – the slow car in this bunch – comes with a 485-horsepower V8. The SRT Hellcat ($65,995) comes with a 707-horsepower Hemi V8, and the drag-racing-focused Demon’s ($84,995) Hemi puts out 840 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and an eight-speed automatic is available.

SRT trims come with Brembo brakes, a high-performance suspension, a Bilstein adaptive damping system, a Harman Kardon audio system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and an upgraded Uconnect system with an 8.4-inch touch screen and navigation. There aren’t too many available features for SRT trims, and most of the ones that you can get are performance-related.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Dodge dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Dodge deals page.

See 2018 Dodge Challenger specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Dodge Challenger is a good sports car that’s more powerful (with its strongest engines) than just about any other car on the road. It also features a large interior and trunk, making it more practical than many other sports cars. However, it doesn’t handle nearly as well as many rivals, and it also has one of the highest starting prices in the class.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • You have a wide variety of choices, ranging from the 305-horsepower SXT V6 up to the drag-strip-dominating Demon and its potential for 840 horsepower. When pitted against its rivals, the 2018 Dodge Challenger doesn't have the sharp handling to keep up on a curvy road, but it bests them in comfort, refinement and pure retro appeal." -- Edmunds
  • "Take one glance at the mean-looking 2016 Dodge Challenger, and you might assume it's rough, impractical and generally uncouth. In truth, it is basically a full-size sedan with a reverently retro body, and while it projects tons of attitude, it's surprisingly docile behind the wheel." -- Autotrader (2016)
  • "In terms of cargo space, passenger capacity, and fuel consumption, the Challenger SXT isn't the 1-A choice for a V6 car in the $30,000 range. But not everybody needs or wants a family friendly vehicle. The V6 Challenger delivers a nice array of modern technological features in a fun retro-muscle wrapper, and if you're prudent with the options, it doesn't have to cost that much." -- Consumer Guide (2015)
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